September 11, 2005  ·  Lessig

This American Life‘s episode this week, “After the Flood,” is an extraordinary collection of stories from New Orleans. Most extraordinary among the lot was the clear picture it gave of the work by some bit of government down there to forbid people from leaving the city. The story is told by a group of paramedics at a convention in New Orleans; it is about the force used to keep them (and others) from leaving.

However outrageous not being prepared was, however insane was the delay in reaction, this, imho, is the worst. Listen.

September 8, 2005  ·  Lessig

From the Free Software Foundation, an opportunity to learn more about the GPL:

“The GPL is employed by tens of thousands of software projects aroundthe world, of which the Free Software Foundation’s GNU system is a tiny fraction. The GNU system, when combined with Linus Torvalds’Linux—which has evolved into a flexible, highly-portable,industry-leading operating system kernel—along with Samba, MySQL, and other GPL’d programs, offers superior reliability and adaptability to Microsoft’s operating systems, at nominal cost. GPL’d software runs on or is embedded in devices ranging from cellphones, PDAs and home networking appliances to mainframes and supercomputing clusters. Independent software developers around the world, as well as every large corporate IT buyer and seller, and a surprisingly large proportion of individual users, interact with the GPL.”

- Richard Stallman, FSF President; and Eben Moglen, FSF General Counsel

Whether your business or its clients deal first-hand with free
software or not, it has become a part of the environment that is
impossible to ignore.

The nonprofit Free Software Foundation, in association with Columbia
Law School, is offering a one-day seminar on the GPL and Legal Aspects
of Free Software Development at Columbia Law School in New York City,
NY on Wednesday, September 28, 2005.

As the GPL continues to consolidate its position as the copyleft
license of choice, it becomes ever more important that lawyers,
executives, and engineers become knowledgeable of the license. The
Free Software Foundation will shortly be releasing a draft of GPLv3,
and is making available this legal seminar to help educate on the key
issues of software development and license compliance.

The seminar will be led by Daniel Ravicher, Senior Counsel to the FSF
and Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation; Eben Moglen,
General Counsel to the FSF and Executive Director of the Software
Freedom Law Center; and David Turner, the FSF’s lead GPL Compliance
Engineer.

The cost per person is $500 if you register before September 1, or
$600 if you register on or after September 1. Breakfast and lunch will
be provided. Further information about the course schedule, and
registration instructions, can be found here.

For attorneys, the seminar will almost certainly count for CLE credits
in the state of New York, and possibly other states as well. We are
awaiting final approval, and will announce the number of approved
credits when we get it.

September 8, 2005  ·  Lessig

So here’s a question someone out there should know the answer to.

My family and I were in Spain this summer. On our return back, we flew from Alicante to Frankfurt, through Barcelona. (No, for no good reason.) Our ticket from Alicante to Barcelona was on Iberia, and from Barcelona to Frankfurt on Lufthansa. We had about an hours connection in Barcelona.

When we checked in, Iberia informed us that they would not check the bags through to the Lufthansa flight, and that its only interline agreements were with airlines within the One World Alliance. Thus, in Barcelona, we had to get our bags, recheck them, and then get through security, in less than an hour. Lufthansa was fantastic in helping us. We made the flight by literally 5 minutes.

I guess if I were an airline trying to kill of the amazing competition of new low cost airlines, this would be a good strategy — make it effectively impossible to interconnect outside your (high cost) network. (E.g., while in Frankfurt, I had to fly to Berlin for a meeting. The cost on Lufthansa for that trip was about 700 EU. The cost on FlyDBA was about 150 EU.) But what is the history of this? It couldn’t have been the case that interline agreements were only with alliances, since alliances are new. So when did this practice begin? How broadly practiced is it? And why would competition authorities permit it?

September 6, 2005  ·  Lessig

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics, on TRIPS:

“Intellectual property is important, but the appropriate intellectual-property regime for a developing country is different from that for an advanced industrial country. The TRIP’s scheme failed to recognize this. In fact, intellectual property should never have been included in a trade agreement in the first place, at least partly because its regulation is demonstrably beyond the competency of trade negotiators.”

(Thanks, Ren)

September 6, 2005  ·  Lessig

So the year resumes. Thanks to the guest bloggers — Cass Sunstein, the Free Culture Movement, Jimmy Wales, and Hilary Rosen. And thanks to all who’ve written worried about my silence, or asking for my return. I hadn’t realized how long it would take to dig out from my time away. I’m almost there.